Defining open learning Open learning is a state of mind; Open learning is a way of enabling adults to take responsibility for their own learning…
Roger Lewis Open learning is when decisions about learning are taken by the learner. These decisions may be over a number of different aspects of the learning process, including:
Whether or not to learn
What to learn (selection of content/skills)
How to learn (methods, media, routes)
Where to learn (the place of learning)
When to learn (start and finish, pace)
Who to turn to for help (tutors? Trainers? Friends? Colleagues?)
How to get learning assessed (and the nature of feedback provided)
What to do next (other courses? Career direction?) (1989a:90-91)
There are at least seven major questions we need to ask in planning a self-instructional course:
Who will be the learners?
What are the aims and objectives?
What will be the subject-content?
How will the content be sequenced?
What teaching methods and media will be used?
How will learners be assessed?
How will the course be evaluated with a view to improvement?
Writing Objectives Writing objectives is meant to help you plan your teaching. In writing objectives we are trying to indicate what successful learners should be able to do (or say) to demonstrate that they have learned. So it is better to avoid introducing objectives with words like those on the left below. Instead, begin an objective with a verb like those on the right below:
Demonstrate… Believe in… Give examples of… Learn the basics of… Suggest reasons why… Realize the significance of… Assess… Have information about… Apply… Believe… Compare… Be aware of… Show diagrammatically Acquire a feeling for… Summarize… Be interested in… Analyze… Appreciate… Distinguish between… Have a good grasp of… Pick out… Become acquainted with… Evaluate… Be familiar with… List… Really understand… Explain… Really know… Describe… Understand… State… Know… USE words like: AVOID words like:
Once you know your objectives for the manual as a whole, you will need to know how they relate to the objectives for individual chapters. Readers will be expected to achieve some objectives as a result of a particular lesson, others will be expected to get better and better at, chapter by chapter. So, objectives can be arrived at by asking: Which of the objectives will be fully attained during this lesson? And Which of the objectives (or which aspects of which) will readers improve their ability in during the lesson? Deciding on content
Some writers number the sections and paragraphs within their lessons. Hence they can be cumbersome, and difficult to keep logical.
Keep your learners informed as to what they are supposed to be doing. If you want them to think up examples of their own or relate a point to their working lives, say so. If you want your readers to memorize something or write it down in their notebooks, tell them so.
At the end of some lessons you may need a glossary. This should contain working definitions of all the new concepts that have been introduced. These will normally be definitions that refresh your readers’ minds about what they have learned.
This would consist of one or more exercises that learners should be able to carry out successfully after having worked through the lesson.
The index should consist of the key words that readers are likely to look up.
Imagine how you might operate as a tutor or a coach, working with just one learner.
You might simply check that the learner understood what you had been getting at.
You might ask the learner to suggest examples for his or her own experience.
You might get the learner to apply the ideas being discussed to a new situation or example.
You might invite the learner to carry out a practical task involving the new ideas. And so on.
Some writers of self-instruction distinguish between what they call: SAQ (Self-assessment questions) Which may appear, perhaps several together, testing major objectives, at the end of perhaps an hour or so’s reading; and ITQs (In-text questions) This may be used at frequent intervals in the text between SAQs, generating the running dialogue between author and reader.